THE SECRET OF SANCTIFICATION. By A.B.Simpson.

fb_img_1475441794132Paul has left us in no doubt about the principles that lay behind his experience of sanctification. The first of these is the great fundamental principle of death and resurrection. He finds the germ of his experience in that which is the centre of all Christianity, the Cross of Jesus Christ, “Don’t you know that all of us who were baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into His death? We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death”. “Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 6 v3-4 &11).
Sanctification is not the improvement of the old nature, nor a surgical operation removing a part of it. It is the absolute and entire death of self, of the natural man, with the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not only the death of his badness, but the death of his natural goodness. It is not only the putting aside of his weakness, but the putting off of his natural strength, and then his emerging from the grave of the Lord Jesus Christ with a life so new and so divine that it is the same as if he had been born out of heaven.
Sanctification is not the improvement of self but the displacement of self and its replacement with the new supernatural divine life of the Lord Jesus Christ. The old nature is set aside, nothing good is expected from him for he is “dead” and his “life is hid with Christ in God”.
The next principle in Paul’s experience and doctrine of sanctification is the Christ life. And now we come to the very kernel of the subject in this beautiful text, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2 v20).
Paul’s understanding of sanctification is entirely supernatural and personal. It is not with him a thing, but a Person. It is not something he has attained, but it is some One whom he has met. It is not an experience through which he has come, but a living and almighty Friend with whom he has become forever united. It is not that Paul has become a better man, but Paul has received into his inmost being the Son of Man, the One Man, the Divine Man, the only Man who ever pleased God or ever can please Him again.
Paul has seen the Lord Jesus Christ as his living Head and as his living Substitute. He has taken Him into his entire being to live within, to be what he cannot be, to do what he cannot do, and to be made to him “wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption”. Henceforth his glad triumphant shout is, “Christ lives in me”. “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength” (Phil. 4 v13).
This is the sublime teaching of the Master Himself, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing”. This is the secret “which has been hidden from ages and from generations, . . . Christ in you, the hope of glory”.
This is the truth which makes nothing of us and yet everything of us, that forever lays our glorying in the dust and yet forever lifts us above the old natural perfection, above self-sufficiency, even to the all-sufficiency of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
And so Paul learned the secret of sanctification “by faith”, and well he taught it to his disciples. In the first description of this blessed experience in the sixth chapter of Romans, he uses a little word which is the keynote of this whole subject. It is plain and practical and absolutely unerring, it is the little word count. This is the step by which Paul entered into sanctification and this is the decisive step that each of us must take in order to follow Him.
“Count yourselves to be dead to sin,
but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
You do not have to grow yourself into it, you do not have to pray yourself into it, you do not have to work yourself into it. It is all there for you, you simply accept it, believe it, count upon it, and go forward. As a sinner takes Jesus as his Saviour, at a definite moment in his life, and from that moment counts past sins all forever gone and Christ’s promises forever true, so in sanctification we come to the moment where, by our full surrender and decision, we yield up our own life, our own strength and all that belongs to self and sin. We count not something dead but ourselves dead. Then we take Christ, the Risen One, to be our life, we reckon that He is our life and count on Him for everything. We expect nothing from ourselves but everything from Him. We ask Him to deal with every failure on our part and every assault of the adversary and our one testimony is “Christ lives in me”.

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Author: the burning hearts.

We are Jesus disciples! We long to see genuine biblical revival in this latter days. This we do by prayer and periodically organising word and prayer meetings.

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